California Salmon Fishing Opening Day 2012

April 7, 2012 – The Santa Cruz Harbor

salmon fishing opening day 2012
Santa Cruz Harbor 6:30 AM April 7, 2012

Today is the day we have all been waiting for once again.  Another long winter without any fresh salmon in the freezer is coming to an end.  Saturday is the beginning of the salmon fishing season here in California, and for all the sport fishermen, that is the best news of the year.  But that’s not all.

This year, the fishing is expected to be much better than last year.  There have already, in the first few hours of the season been reports of many nice sized salmon being caught just off the coast in areas like Monterrey Bay, and especially in Santa Cruz.  Since we will be fishing ourselves out of Santa Cruz Harbor in just a few more minutes, I can safely say that there are hundreds of boats heading straight out or near the Soquel Hole to try and locate the fish.

santa cruz fishing boats - california
6:30 am salmon boats leaving Santa Cruz Inner Harbor

Bayside Marine, one of the local fish and tackle shops here in Santa Cruz was booming with customers up until about 9:00 pm last night.  Although many of the people hanging around the tackle shop were pretty much loaded from sipping on beers all day, it was pretty impressive to see so much action all in anticipation for the opening day of the salmon fishery here on the coast.

If you start talking with the locals, you’ll get your usual mix of exactly how and what is the best way to catch the fish.  Conventional thinking goes back to what I consider to be pretty boring – trolling around some lures.  But, trolling for salmon, especially early in the season is the most common and popular fishing method.  People love to attach different lures, or hoochies to the end of the line.  And some people like using a flasher or dodger, which is thought to attract the fish as well.

But, for people like me, trolling around with your engine blasting out fumes all day is no fun.  So, like you’ve seen before from past years, we’ll be mooching with some threaded sardines once again and hopefully getting the chance to put a nice big pink fleshed salmon in the box(or two or three).

Salmon fishing regulations are largely unchanged since last year.  Each licensed angler is allowed to keep 2 fish, and the salmon need to be at least 24 inches in length.  No silver/coho salmon are allowed to be taken.  Only king salmon are allowed.  You can figure out which type of salmon you have caught by looking at the gums of the fish.  If the gums are white, that is a silver salmon and you must release it immediately.  If the gums are black in color, that fish can be kept as long as its 24 inches long.  More details about the fishing regulations can be located at the California Fish and Game Website.

Good Luck fishing this year, and hopefully we’ll see some 20 and 30 pound salmon on the first day!

Cabo Fishing Report for January 2, 2012

Sea of Cortez Weather Conditions:

January 2, 2012 was a pretty calm day for us down here in Cabo in terms of the weather.  The morning had a nice light breeze that created a tiny wind chop near shore.  Offshore, the wind was a bit heavier, but still less than 10-12 knots.  Temperatures were hoovering just over 78 degrees for the majority of the day and the ocean temperature ranged from the low to mid 70’s.  In the afternoon and towards dusk, the weather became very calm.  Winds died down to almost nothing at all, and the ocean turned to glass before it was dark.

Fishing for Bonito

Although there were some yellow dorado flags flying on some of the fishing fleets boats in Palmilla Bay, our boat did not catch any.  We fished again in the afternoon, and trolled three rods in back of the boat at about 7-8 knots.  We used two plugs, and one “mexican flag feather lure”.  The diving plug lures worked the best.  The feather didn’t even get a single bite from any fish.

We were only able to catch football sized bonito, and in total we landed 5 in the two hours of afternoon fishing.  We released all of the fish, and although I was hoping to chop up a few of them and use them for bait for grouper the next day, the boat’s captain would not allow for that.  When you are reeling up a fish like bonito, you don’t know for sure what you have on the end of the line.  There’s always a chance it could be  a nice and tasty yellow fin tuna, but of course it might just be bonito.  Thankfully, the fish we caught today were super strong and were pulling out line until the very end.   We never used the gaff that was sitting in the back of the boat, since again the captain didn’t want to get fish blood flying all over the boat.  We already had enough cleaning when we got on-board.  We were lucky enough to have a flock of about ten pelicans sitting on the boat all day, pooping all over the place. If it wasn’t for the washdown hose on the boat, we would probably have been sitting in fresh white pelican poop.  Let’s just say the fishing today was a bit stinkier than usual.

Two days from now on Wednesday we are headed back out again to fish the waters of the Gordo Banks up the Sea of Cortez.  The goal is to leave a bit earlier in the morning, and we are expecting to finally get some live bait.

Marlin Fishing:

Very few reports of marlin caught came over the radio today.  There was one boat out of Cabo San Lucas which reported 3 stripped marlin before noon, and the captain said that all the fish were taken at the Golden Gate Bank on the Pacific Ocean side of Cabo.


Puerto Los Cabos Marina in San Jose Del Cabo

The new marina has arrived to San Jose Del Cabo, it’s called Puerto Los Cabos.

Most definitely, it has taken it’s fair share of time, but the Corona family has done a magnificent job in constructing and getting up and running the new marina and harbor in San Jose Del Cabo.  So long are the days of needing to drive all the way into Cabo San Lucas to launch your boat at the launch ramp there.  If you are living or vacationing closer to San Jose Del Cabo, it is a very simply drive through town and the estuary to the new marina.  There is a nice webpage that talks about the making of the Puerto Los Cabos marina right here(for more information on that if you like.)

Some great features of the Puerto Los Cabos Marina:

  • Very easy to use launch ramp (never a wait, and some happy local Mexicans are there to help you out if you like)
  • Some of the nicest looking fillet tables for cutting up your catch when you return (look at the picture below)
  • Several nice public bathrooms (great places to drop a stinky load before or after fishing)
  • A nice beach to take a quick dip, or to drop your kids off at while you go out fishing for the day
  • Tons of panga boats to charter for fishing trips if you don’t have your own fishing boat
  • Live bait is often available from some of the locals if you arrive early enough in the morning
  • Several different taco stands and smaller restaurants are scattered around the marina (don’t be scared if they look like they haven’t been cleaned in years, those ones are usually the best tasting.  Best bet is to hit up a taco stand that has the most locals eating at it.  And feel free to bring your fish that you’ve caught right on in, and most places will cook it up for you
  • There is a fishing tackle shop that you can buy fishing gear and a Mexican Fishing License if you like (people over the age of 12 need to purchase a fishing license and it is around $15 or less per day)
  • Drydock storage facilities for boats that are needing a more long term solution
  • Other boat services and haul out options are available

Puerto Los Cabos Marina Pictures:

Puerto Los Cabos Marina
Puerto Los Cabos Marina (near the launch ramp)
Fish Cutting Tables at Puerto Los Cabos Marina
the fish filleting tables at the marina (girl sometimes included)
Boat Launch Ramp Puerto Los Cabos
the red car is launching our boat
mexicans fishing on pier
Some Amigos fishing on the docks in the marina

Cabo Mexico Fishing Report December 29, 2011

Palmilla Cabo Mexio
View of Palmilla Bay between San Jose and Cabo San Lucas

Today December 29, 2011 is the beginning of an 11 day long fishing trip.  What’s great is that the weather is looking quite a bit better this morning compared to the reports that we have heard from several amigos and local Mexican fishing guides down here in Cabo.  I guess the past few days, the weather has been relatively cool, with some variable to heavy winds in the afternoons.

This morning, the winds are very light, and the seas appear very calm here at Palmilla Bay.  Palmilla bay is located in-between the two towns of San Jose del Cabo and the more famous Cabo San Lucas.  Of the two towns, it is much closer to San Jose del Cabo.

Later on today, we are going to launch the Grady White boat we have down here, and take it out for some fishing.  We are still deciding where exactly to fish, but it is probably that we will launch out of San Jose del Cabo in their new marina, and then maybe take a stroll up the Sea of Cortez to the Gordo Banks.  There have been some reports of yellowfin tuna and dorado being taken out at the banks which is great news.  My wife is telling me not to come back to sea until we have some fish for her to eat.  I’m sure other fishermen can understand the pressures we go through.

In terms of how we plan on catching anything, well, we will probably be trolling heavy lures behind the boat, and if we get lucky, we might end up purchasing some live bait from some other amigos.

Time will tell, but since it’s been three years since I was down here in Cabo, I think we should be really lucky this time around.

More Cabo fishing updates will follow over the week, and hopefully some nice pictures of fish both being caught, and maybe even some live fishing videos.